HYDERABAD: In a boost to the NDA's choice of candidate in the presidential election, the ruling TRS in Telangana today backed the BJP's nominee and claimed it had suggested earlier fielding a Dalit candidate.
Soon after Ram Nath Kovind's candidature was announced for the president's post on behalf of the NDA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and requested his support, the CM's office said in a release.
The PM told the CM "as per your (the chief minister's) suggestion, we have decided upon a Dalit candidate for the presidential post," and requested his support for the candidate, the release said.
Immediately after receiving Modi's call, the chief minister consulted his party colleagues. "Later, he conveyed his party's support for the presidential candidate to the PM," it said.
TRS floor leader in Lok Sabha, A P Jithender Reddy, told PTI, "After Amit Shah declared the candidate, Prime Minister Modi called up Mr KCR -- the first person to be telephoned by Modi after the decision -- and asked him for the support and KCR has very openly said that as he is a Dalit leader and is a very good person, we whole-heartedly support him."
In the 120-member legislative assembly, including a nominated member, TRS has a strength of 82.
The party has 11 Lok Sabha members, excluding one each from Congress, YSR Congress and TDP who had switched loyalties to TRS. It has three Rajya Sabha members.
The BJP today named Dalit leader and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's candidate for the post of president.
Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23, BJP president Amit Shah said after a nearly two-hour meeting of the BJP parliamentary board.